BINGHAMTON – The last time Norwich was held under 40 points was the finals of the Section IV Class B tournament almost a year ago when Seton Catholic Central topped the Purple Tornado.
Johnson City nearly mirrored that defensive performance, and pulled away in the second half to down the Purple Tornado, 51-35, Friday night at Binghamton High School.
Up for grabs was the STAC Central Division title, and Johnson City came from behind for the title forcing a tie-breaking game after winning at Norwich last Wednesday night. The Wildcats now play Union-Endicott in the Southern Tier Athletic Conference playoffs.
“Our effort, intensity, and toughness were outstanding, and we battled the whole way,” said Norwich coach Mark Abbott. “Johnson City is just a talented team that has played extremely well against us the last two times we’ve played them.”
Johnson City knew Norwich would make adjustments from the Wednesday night game in which it won, 64-54. In that contest, senior Rashawn Powell scored 25 points and Troy Robinson added 17.
Powell had just two points in the first half on two free throws, while Robinson scored four. Still, Johnson City managed to lead 21-17 finishing the final two minutes of the first half on a 10-0 run.
Powell, passing out of a Norwich double team, found teammate Isaiah Washington for an open jumper at 1:59 making it 17-13. After a Norwich turnover, Powell again passed out of a double team identifying a wide-open Cody Arvantakis for a dead-on three-pointer.
Norwich missed a layup on its next attempt, and Arvantakis drove the court finishing with a hoop-and-harm three-point play and the lead. At the end of the half, quick JC point guard Ian Pettiford hit a driving layup, and the Wildcats forged a four-point halftime edge that continued to grow. “We weren’t adjusting early to what they were doing, and I knew they would double and triple Pop (Powell),” said Johnson City coach Mark Woitach. “I thought for the most part, we were finding the open guys out of the double team. We also needed to pick up the defensive intensity and get out and run. We were able to do that.”